Everyone hopes that a cancer diagnosis is something that neither they nor those that they love will ever hear coming out of a doctor’s mouth. No one wants to learn that they have a tumor or any T cell abnormalities. Cancer cells are small but mighty, and despite great strides in research, many people around the world succumb to various cancers every year. From melanoma to kidney cancer, learning that you have cancer cells within you is a big blow.
The next steps following the discovery of a tumor or cancer cells in your midst will depend on your specific diagnosis; treatment options for kidney cancer differ from those appropriate for taking on cancer cells that are harming one’s colon. Nevertheless, a treatment plan often includes several common options, such as immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and in extreme cases, various clinical trials. The side effects of these treatment options can be pretty awful, ranging from nausea and fatigue to hair loss and a depressed immune system. There are also mental health implications for those undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment plan options.
Cancer immunotherapy is a specific form of cancer treatment that differs greatly from radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Immunotherapy works with the body’s existing immune system to “teach” it to have a better, faster, and stronger immune response to toxic cancer cells. By strengthening the body’s immune response, immunotherapy can avoid some of the more dire side effects of other cancer treatments, such as intense nausea. In any case, though, any cancer treatment is sure to take a toll on cancer patients of all stripes. If you or someone you love is facing immunotherapy treatments for any cancer, here are some ways in which cancer patients can lift their spirits during the course of their immunotherapy.
Splurge on a new, more comfortable wardrobe.
One thing that many cancer patients speak of suffering from during their treatment plan, regardless of the type of cancer, is physical discomfort. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to put on skinny jeans after coming home from radiation therapy treatments, and for good reason. If you or a loved one is facing immunotherapy for any cancer type, consider buying up some cotton women’s dresses and comfy sandals. That way, when they have a flare-up, they can reach for a soft cotton sundress and feel some relief.
Get into video games, like League of Legends.
Since anyone who is undergoing cancer treatment will inevitably be spending plenty of time at home, it’s worthwhile to look into pastimes they can enjoy from home. Mastering the navigation of Summoner’s Rift as you delve into the world of League of Legends will give some well-needed escapism during a time of strife. Losing oneself in spells and castles with turrets, and putting up a resistance to the Baron Nashor and its minions will take you out of a world of T cells and immune system challenges. Even for a few moments, this is worthwhile.
Find a therapist who understands cancer treatment.
None of us are immune to mental health challenges, especially so for those of us who are facing cancer treatments. Whether you have kidney cancer, colon cancer, neck cancer, lung cancer, or any other cancer type, you may face anxiety, depression, or worse. Finding a therapist specializing in treating those who have cancer will provide a safe space for these challenges. Treatment of patients with various types of cancer is something certain psychologists specialize in, and you can find help from professionals such as these all across the United States.
Be honest about your needs with your loved ones.
Your family members and friends may want to help you during this time but struggle to know how to. Or, if you have a friend or family member with a tumor living amongst their normal cells, you may not know how to help them. In either case, honesty is key. This is, hopefully, the first time any one of you is facing this situation, and it’s not easy. Have open conversations about your needs, and try not to take any brashness personally. Cancer treatment is a group effort, but it can only work if everyone is candid with one another.
Make a calendar that celebrates checkpoints in your cancer treatment.
Facing a lengthy cancer treatment plan can be exhausting, even before you’ve started any immunotherapy at all. It’s a good idea to draw up a calendar where you can mark checkpoints in your journey. Instead of waiting to be completely cancer-free before you break out the champagne and ice cream cake, get a few celebrations in on your way there. This will give you things to look forward to, which will make the whole journey more bearable. The fatigue of many years ahead is easier to handle when you only need to take it on a few months or weeks at a time.